What Laws Govern New Casinos in the UK?
Online casinos in the UK are regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. The Commission has overarching powers in regulating casino products, live casinos, and bookmaking. The UKGC is the principal regulatory body that covers gaming machines, bingo, the national lottery, and arcades. It is an independent institution, funded by the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS)
It derives its power from the Gambling Act 2005, which provides the framework for licence issuance to casino operators. Under this law, companies listed on Whitelisted gambling jurisdictions can market their casino products to UK residents. The Whitelisted Gambling Jurisdictions are EEA countries, Alderney, Antigua and Barbuda, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, and Tasmania.
The National Lottery Commission of the UK was merged with the UK Gambling Commission in October 2013, following which the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 was passed. The new Act introduced the concept of remote gambling, which required companies to be licenced by the UKGC in order to provide gaming products to UK players. Earlier, the licence was only required to set up an online casino in the UK. The HM Government also introduced the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 on June 2017. This law introduced new KYC compliance measures and banking restrictions to funds from unknown sources. Since 2017, the iGaming industry has become more transparent and many online casino operators have been blacklisted from the UK market.
UK Gambling Commission issues three types of licences
- Operating Licence also as known as Remote Gambling Licence
- Personal management Licence
- Personal Functional Licence
The ambit of these licences is broad and it covers game testing, social responsibility features, adherence to responsible gambling, money laundering measures, KYC record keeping, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) measures, technical standards and other sector-specific compliance standards. The licences provide a level playing to online casinos and prioritise customer security and privacy.
The licence is issued on the basis of self-declaration and verifications from independent testing agencies like eCogra, iTech Labs, and GLI. However, certain components of casino operations like the availability of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and KYC records are directly audited by the government. Unlicensed casinos are barred from marketing their products to UK players and it is considered an offence to provide games to UK residents. Online Casinos licenced by the UKGC are also required to pay 15% tax to the UK government on their profits from UK players.
– fairness in games testers
All casino products are tested by independent auditing organisations. Some of these game testing agencies are eCogra, iTech Labs, and GLI. These companies conduct audits of casinos by testing the listed games with Random Number Generators. In the UK, most online casinos are verified by eCogra. Additional checks on banking and network security are also conducted by Norton Secured, GLI, and TRUSTe Verified. Once verified by game testers, the online casino will bear their logo at the casino website.
One of the key pillars of online casinos is Responsible Gambling. This comes under Social Responsibility clauses of the UKGC licence. Online casinos are required to provide links and contact details of Responsible Gambling organisations in their casino. Many online casinos also have responsible gambling features like setting deposit limits, cool-off periods, permanent account block, and bet limits. Some online casinos take extra initiative to spread awareness on gambling. Some of the RG organisations of the UK are as follows:
Gamble Aware: https://www.begambleaware.org
GamCare: https://www.gamcare.org.uk/ or 0808 8020 133
National Gambling Helpline: 0808 8020 133
Gamblers Anonymous: www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk
GA Scotland: www.gascotland.org/
National Problem Gambling Clinic: https://www.cnwl.nhs.uk/services/addictions-and-substance-misuse-services/national-problem-gambling-clinic/